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Russian doctor who shook Putin’s hand tests positive for coronavirus

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  • A Russian doctor who was in close proximity to Russian President Vladimir Putin last week was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.
  • Denis Protsenko, the chief of the Kommunarka hospital, was seen greeting Putin on March 24.
  • “I think the immunity I’ve developed this month is doing its job,” he said on Facebook, according to Reuters.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A Russian doctor who was in close proximity to Russian President Vladimir Putin last week was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, according to the country’s primary hospital dealing with the outbreak.

Denis Protsenko, the chief of the Kommunarka hospital, was seen greeting Putin on March 24. The two shook hands and walked together as Putin toured the hospital. At one point during the tour, Putin exchanged his suit for hazardous material gear and also an Asics track suit.

putin coronavirus

Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to Denis Protsenko, chief physician of a hospital for patients infected with coronavirus disease (COVID-19), as they walk at the hospital, on the outskirts of Moscow, Russia March 24, 2020.

Sputnik/Alexey Druzhinin/Kremlin/Reuters


Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov said “everything is fine” and reiterated that the Russian president is regularly tested for the coronavirus, according to AFP.

Dr. Protsenko reportedly confirmed on his Facebook account that he tested positive and was self-quarantining himself to his office.

“I think the immunity I’ve developed this month is doing its job,” he said on Facebook, according to Reuters.

Protsenko, who frequently gives updates to the public on the country’s coronavirus response, has reportedly grown in notoriety amid the outbreak for his briefings. Roughly 2,337 cases and 17 deaths have been reported as of Tuesday, leading some experts to theorize the country may be underplaying the disease’s spread and severity.

“The situation is on the whole under control,” Putin said on March 18. “Russia looks much better compared with other countries.”

Lawmakers approved of a preliminary measure to allow the government to declare a national emergency after Moscow declared a lockdown on Sunday. Residents were only permitted to leave their homes for food or medical requirements, walking their dogs, or emptying their trash, Reuters reported. Violators can be subject to seven years in prison and an equivalent of a $25,500 fine.

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